Daria Kashcheeva combines stop motion, documentary-style filmmaking and painterly techniques

Daria reveals that she drew inspiration for her filming technique from live-action films: “I started to study the camera movement in my favourite acted feature films by the Dardenne brothers, Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Susanne Biere and the whole Dogma. I studied The Son by the Dardennes and Breaking the Waves by Trier, frame by frame. I watched these films maybe a thousand times.” She combined these references with filmed footage of herself, so as to accurately convey the dynamics of human expression: “In animation, especially in big details, I was using video reference. I filmed myself, then frame by frame transferred the motion of my eyes to the puppet face.”

Even with Daughter’s technique, pace and delivery so firmly situated in the action of real bodies, Daria’s scenographic style upholds the evocative power of expressionistic touches over realism. Her attention to texture with her paper mache-painted figures serves to further emphasise the puppets’ materiality, lending their animated presence the gravity of living bodies while retaining the subtle dynamism and artistry of stylised stop motion. She cites her admiration for painterly techniques, in particular, those of “Egon Schiele, who freely, courageously and also very sensitively, just with colourful stains, expressed the inner world of the person on his canvas. I felt that for a film to rouse emotions, paper and painting were the right choice.”

With a host of interdisciplinary references in both art history and live action cinema, Daria’s degree work already has a strong conception of style and a clearly defined sense of where it sits among the intersecting creative mediums upon which it draws. She wants to develop her art, she tells us, by introducing further elements that push at the boundaries of what animation can achieve: “I want to use an actor, and somehow combine pixilation, stop motion, and puppet animation. Also, I’m thinking about working with space. I always was impressed by abandoned houses and a technique called urban pixilation. So I’m thinking now how could I use this technique in my next film.”

Soon to be screened as part of the graduation films category at Annecy international film festival, Daughter heralds the arrival of a compelling new voice in animation. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

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